Synopses & Reviews
A history of Ireland from the twelfth century to the present, following on the author's highly successful In Search of Ancient Ireland. In addition to plumbing the historical record, Ms. McCaffrey discusses the leading Irish families and their social roles, and the great castles and homes that dot the Irish countryside. The history comes alive for the present-day reader. Illustrated.
"McCaffrey (In Search of Ancient Ireland) has penned a 'quick,' partisan (from the Catholic viewpoint) version of Irish history. The arrival of the English in the 12th century is duly noted and the long melancholy march to the modern age is marked by jumps from King Dermot MacMurrough to Oliver Cromwell, the potato famine and the political turbulence of the late 19th century. Of particular interest is McCaffrey's excellent portrait of Charles Stewart Parnell and his policies in the 1870s and '80s, such as his involvement in the Land Leagues, his quest for Home Rule, his affair with Kitty O'Shea and subsequent abandonment by both church and state. McCaffrey also views the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland and comes to some interesting conclusions about orthodoxy and traditional Irish resistance to it. The political ferment of the early 20th century is explored by painting portraits of all the familiar names, from Patrick Pearse to Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins. The modern troubles in the North are examined and the Celtic Tiger is praised (somehow without mentioning its father, 1960s' prime minister Sean Lemass). A breezy, somewhat superficial work, this will best appeal to the Irish history neophyte." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)